Mitch and Julie Linneman and son Jacob visited in Springfield last week.

Former Springfield woman and husband are missionaries working with the poor

A former Springfield woman, Julie Lindley Linneman, and her husband, Mitch, are missionaries who will be working in relief and development projects, — teaching aquaponics to use in some of the poorest regions of the world. 

The Linnemans live in the small, rural community of Genoa, Illinios, one hour west of Chicago. They are involved in church work and have been taking discipleship (missionary preparation classes) for about four years. “We both grew up Lutheran and have a solid faith base, and kept feeling called to do more for the kingdom of God and for the world,” said Julie during a visit to Springfield last week. 

The Linnemans’ interest in mission work progressed a bit at a time. “We went on a couple of short-term mission trips to Costa Rica and worked with an organization there called Seeds of Hope Home,” Julie explained.  Seeds of Hope works in Costa Rica on the national and local levels with youth to prevent and combat sexual exploitation / trafficking, drugs, alcohol and violence. Many boys and girls there quit school in the third-grade because they don’t have the money for uniforms and school supplies.  Seeds of Hope Home conducts a preventative program teaching Bible classes, English, tourism, hair cutting, woodworking, and various trades that could be helpful to them in finding productive work.   The missionaries have been taking the Gospel to the people, but they see a need for something tangible to change the community, and they believe that aquaponics can be something that could change communities. The mission’s goal is to keep the children in school during the day and have them come to their clubhouses at the end of the day. Seeds of Hope is progressing in its work and now is working with a team of government people who are trying to stop the trafficking of children in Costa Rica. 

 “They want a gardening program for the kids, they weren’t sure what they wanted that to look like, and asked us to help them figure something out,” said Julie.   “The soil in Costa Rica is very sandy and has little rocks in it; we really weren’t sure what would grow there.”  The Linnemans returned to their Illinois home and it was during a discipleship class that one of the teachers suggested aquaponics. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.   The Linnemans explained that there is an orphanage in Honduras with 35 homeless boys. Glodev has put in a system there that is now feeding the boys; and the boys are taking care of the fish and taking care of the growing. It’s self-sustaining. 

The Linnemans are associated with Go to Nations, a mission agency focused on training, sending and serving missionaries; and they will be project directors for Glodev, (Global Development, its development arm) and they will be developing a training center and systems for aquaponics. 

“It’s just getting started and we’re going in on the ground floor to help them build that and get it going,” said Mitch.  The training center will be built at Jacksonville, Florida, where the Linnemans plan to reside.

 “It’s an adventure.  We’re doing something that can really change the world,” said Mitch. “We are excited to be a part of it,” added Julie. 

During the next few months, the Linnemans will prepare for their new mission work. They’ll sell their house in Genoa and relocate to Jacksonville.  

And, they will work on fundraising. “We are missionaries so we must have partners,” explained Julie.  They hope to recruit enough partners that will help support them and provide money so that they can travel to various countries to put in the systems.  “We’re hoping to go to Jacksonville September 1,” said Julie. “That’s our goal.”

In their fundraising effort, the Linnemans are meeting one on one with people, and speaking at churches.    They spoke at St. John Lutheran Church here, Julie’s home church, Sunday morning.  (Julie is the daughter of Delores Lindley and the late Don Lindley, is a 1978 graduate of Springfield High School, and attended the University of Wisconsin, Stout.)  “We want to get the word out, letting people know what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re hoping that, down the road, we can put some systems in Costa Rica, so that kids coming to the clubhouses can grow their own fish and other foods,” said Julie.  “We’re hoping more people will join our team.”

For anyone who wishes to contribute to their project, you can get in touch with Mitch and Julie Linneman, 33990 N. State Road, Genoa, Illinois 60135; Tel: 815-761-9580; or go to or to

Go to Nations missionaries — 850 missionaries in nine different countries — have been working in poor countries since the early 1980s.  Go to Nations is ECFA Accredited.   Founded in 1979, ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, transparency, fundraising, and board governance. 


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